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Should I continue to subject DD to this?

(6 Posts)
mommybunny Thu 27-Sep-12 17:44:12

DD is 5, and a sweet, lovely little girl. She goes to an all girls school about 5 miles from home. DS is 7 (also sweet and lovely, but that's not completely relevant) and goes to an all boys school about 2 miles from home in the opposite direction. They both have the same window in which they have to be in school and traffic in our town can make it very difficult and stressful getting them both dropped off on time.

I hit on what I thought was the perfect plan for at least a couple of days a week: there is a girl in DD's class who lives in the same village as DS's school. I drop DD there on the way to DS's school and she hitches a ride with them (they have an older daughter who goes to the same school). One afternoon a week DD and her classmate take tennis lessons together so we do the school pickup and get them both to their lesson. The other mum thought this was a fantastic idea.

Trouble is, DD's classmate is a BRAT. She says and does mean, thoughtless things almost every single morning - one morning she's screaming "I don't want [DD] to come to school with us!", the next she's throwing a Nintendo DS at DD, she's always kicking up a fuss over what position she and everyone else is in in the car, stuff like that. I've always known she was a bit difficult, but I never expected this. Her mum and dad have recently separated, and that may be behind what's making it so bad now, but it doesn't explain all of it. The mum tries to get her to stop, but not terribly effectually.

DD has never complained about it - she is so forgiving and doesn't hold grudges. She has never asked me if we can stop bringing her to this girl's house, or if I can take her to school. I'm trying to follow her lead - at the first sign of wanting it to stop I would do it, but without that, should I? How do I broach it with the mum without sounding judgmental? I know this mum is trying so hard to carry on as normal - she doesn't want people pitying her, she wants to be seen to pull her weight, and I would love to support her in that. But I also don't want to subject my DD to a new form of torture every morning in that cause.

Any insights greatly appreciated.

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Thu 27-Sep-12 18:18:18

I think you need to put your DD first and stop the lifts. It's a terrible start to her day. The Mum will know why you're stopping the lifts...so there's no sugar coating it...just say that it's all a bit much and DD feels that she wants to go with you.

Her feelings come second to those of your DDs.

Biscuitsneeded Thu 27-Sep-12 19:09:14

It doesn't sound ideal. But if I've understood correctly this other Mum is having your DD in the morning 5 days a week and driving her to school, and you are giving her DD two lifts to and from tennis in exchange. So she is actually doing you the bigger favour. This little girl is dealing with family break-up; she is also the one whose parent is present to kick off in front of, and as we all know our children always behave worse for their own parent. If your daughter hasn't actually voiced any objection to the current arrangement I would give it a while longer and see if things calm down. Do you have any viable alternative if you do decide not to continue the arrangement? Does one of the schools have a breakfast club so that you could drop one child slightly earlier, for example? If you do decide to stop you don't have to sound judgmental. I would just say you feel you have prevailed on the other mum's generosity enough and have made other arrangements, but would still happily take and collect X from tennis - if you do genuinely want to be supportive. You must have known when you enrolled your children at separate schools on either side of town that you would face this problem in the mornings, and if I'm honest I think you need to acknowledge that the other mum is doing you quite a big favour.

mommybunny Thu 27-Sep-12 19:42:06

Biscuitsneeded, DD only goes with them 3 mornings a week. The arrangement is a little less one-sided than it sounds - because of timings when she has to collect her older daughter in the afternoon, we actually hang out at the tennis club with the classmate to wait for her mum to get there. That said, of course she's doing me a favour, no doubt about it!

If I needed to end the arrangement I would figure out a way to get both kids to school, it's my problem. It isn't the possibility of having to figure out how to get the kids to school that I'm worried about, more that I could be offending the mum if I decide to terminate it.

Biscuitsneeded Thu 27-Sep-12 19:50:20

Sorry if I misunderstood. I don't think you'll offend the other mum. Maybe you could tell a white lie about your other child doing some before-school clubs or something... I think people understand that childcare arrangements evolve over time to respond to different circumstances. If you continue to be friendly in all other contexts I don't think she'll take it personally.

ZuleikaD Fri 28-Sep-12 07:39:01

I don't think you'll offend the other mum either - she'd probably be grateful for a diminution in the morning tantrums if an element of it is triggered by your DD. I'd call a halt for now - maybe when things have settled a bit more at the other girl's house you could try again.

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